Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Looking for Lace in Nippori

I returned to Nippori Station. Despite the cloudy weather, it was still possible to see Sky Tree.

Zoom photo for my friend since she loves Sky Tree.

 There isn't much to see in Nippori right outside the train station. The pastel colored buildings were nice.

Nippori wasn't very busy that day. It was actually a holiday. Yama no Hi Mountain Day. It was the first time it was ever celebrated in Japan so I didn't know if many shops would close for it in the middle of the week. I was about to find out.

Because I was headed to Nippori Textile Town to look for lace. I wasn't sure I was headed the right way. Nice they have a sign that points which way to go.

Pretty little flowers along the street. I had seen these in other parts of Tokyo. I'm not sure what they are called.

They are nice. If you are wondering why I'm only showing flower photos here...it's because almost all the fabric stores including the big Tomato stores were closed. A few smaller ones were open but that was it.

This nice piece of public art pretty much summed up how I felt. Tired and a little disappointed. No lace for me. But I did find one piece of fabric hanging outside a guy's shop so it wasn't a total waste of time and energy for me.

Along with spying this place. MOS Burger!

I couldn't leave Japan without eating at least once at MOS Burger.

Now you can get both french fries and onion rings in one order. Why don't more places do this? Those are great onion rings. Really nice batter and not as oily as most onion rings are. So good!

Of course I got the shrimp burger. Because I really like it. And it was just as good as I remembered.

As to that fabric, there was no way I was not going to get it once I saw it. It's actually black lace with blue roses printed on it. Reminded me of the musician Mana who I had seen perform at the Deep Sanctuary V concert. Now if I can just decide to use it as part of a skirt or a bolero or a scarf or...I'm sure I will think of something. It amused me to find it since there was nothing else there that was similar. Odd but a nice find for me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Yanaka Cemetary

Just across from Tennoji is Yanaka Cemetery. Yanaka was part of Tennoji and was the largest cemetery in Japan at one time. It also is the final resting place for the last Shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu.

It's also known for it's sakura trees but since it was August the sarusuberi (crepe myrtle) were blooming.

Even though I had a map, the walk ways were not all marked on it. Turned out Yoshinobu's plot was a little further than I walked so I did not see it. I did find the Sakai Clan plot. They were one of the chief retainer families of Tokugawa Ieyasu.

Mostly though I just wandered. It was hot and I was tired, but it still felt a little restful to slowly walk and look around.

I found this sad Buddha rather touching.

I have no idea who this is for. It is one of the older sites in the cemetery.

Close up you can see engraving in the stones that looks like rope or plants.

So many different styles of markers there. Even though it was hot the cemetery felt serene. I wouldn't mind returning on a day where the temperatures are more hospitable. And also checking out the Yanaka area beyond this.

But I still wanted to go to Nippori on this day so instead I turned back to the train station. This beautiful morning glory was on the way to the station. I couldn't help but take a photo.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tennoji Temple

Each trip I have said that I want to visit Nippori Textile Town. So I figured out what trains to take and finally made it there this trip. It wasn't far from Ningyocho, just a couple stops from Akihabara and very near Ueno. Exited the station and decided to go the opposite way from Nippori just for a little bit. Crossed this older looking bridge and walked up a short road.

And found myself in Yanaka Cemetery.

There are a couple temples and shrines right by Yanaka Cemetery. One is Tennoji Temple. Founded in 1274 as part of the  Nichiren sect. Obviously the main gate was built long after that.

The Shogunate closed down Tennoji in the late 17th century claiming heresy. It reopened in 1699 as part of the Tendai sect and remains a Tendai temple today. Seated right by the entrance gate is Tennoji Daibutsu, a large bronze Buddha statue created in 1690 by Ota Kyuemon. I don't know which sect added it to Tennoji since that is before it reopened.

Along with Buddha, there is also a lucky god worshiped here. I do not know who's shrine this is but there is another dedicated to one of the seven lucky gods, Bishamonten. He is the god of wealth and protector of Buddhism. Warriors worshiped him as he is considered to be a protector of the nation. I did not get a decent photo of his shrine but it's much larger than this one.

Tennoji also has a Chōzubachi along with a number of different shrines.

 These lovely large pots were filled with lotus plants. I wasn't lucky enough to see them blooming.

One of the temple buildings. I have no idea as to the age but it does look newer than many of the shrines there.

This may be the Tennoji statue of Kannon. I do not know what the relief plaque below references to.

Another temple building. Probably older than the first one with a lot more architectural detail including the neat onigawara at the roof peak.

Another gate, this one much older than the large entrance gate. Across the street is the subject of my next post, Yanaka Cemetery.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Ladurée Love

I was not going to leave Ginza empty handed. Thankfully the directions to Ladurée are pretty good if you know that it's located in Mitsukoshi Ginza Department Store and the right entrance is by Exit A7 of the Ginza Station.

Being a fan of macarons I was not going to miss this chance to try some of the best in the world. Also rather expensive but once in a while it's okay to treat yourself. So in I went to their very delightful cafe. Would have been quite a treat to sit and eat. Maybe next time. This time I went up to the counter where they have so many different macarons and other pastries and sweets. So hard to choose!

But I did. I could not resist this cute box with the black cat on it. Why is he sticking out his tongue?

Because inside are these delicious chocolate covered cookies called Langues de Chat. A little crispy shortbread type cookie covered in milk and dark chocolate. I was surprised they held up well even in the heat.

Of course I also had to get something else. Which came in this pretty lavender and silver box. Along with a couple Ladurée ice packs. They really do think of everything.

Finally I got to eat Ladurée macarons! Serious bucket list event here.

My first one was this pretty sugar sprinkled strawberry macaron. What delicate taste! It was perfect.

Thanks to having a mini fridge in my hotel room I was able to spread these out over a few days. Next up was the pistachio macaron. Really nice with a bit of a nutty flavor in the ganache. I have had pistachio macarons from a few places and this was right up there.

Third was the cherry macaron. I was looking forward to this one with it's dark red ganache filling. However it did not meet my expectations. The flavor was more like a cherry sugar candy and not so fruit like. I think the strawberry one spoiled me.

I did spread out eating them over time. I really did.

Three left. My choice for this day was the salted caramel. Lovely cookie with a taste that was just right.

Down to rose or chocolate. Look at the foot on them! I saved the chocolate macaron for last. Both it and the rose were sweetly delicious.

While I wish there was Ladurée on the West Coast of North America, it's probably good they aren't because I would be so tempted. I am glad that I stopped in and tried these. I'm sure if I am ever back in Tokyo I will probably do it again.

Ladurée Ginza is at 〒104-8212 Tokyo, 中央区Ginza, 4−6−16 三越銀座店 Mitsukoshi Ginza 三越銀座店

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ginza with a Z

After Harajuku I stopped in Ginza. Chuo Dori to be exact.

Besides being very expensive property, there are some very unusual buildings like this Pioneer Plaza twist architecture.

I came to Ginza to specifically look for two things. Sadly even though I walked up and down streets I could not find the one. I think the heat and being tired made me miss the place. I did see this odd little building amidst all the modern skyscrapers. It could be a police box kōban.

Walk enough in Ginza and you might find a place that is less elegant

and more down to earth like this little restaurant.

I did find the second place I was looking for. That is what will be in my next blog. And it's a very delicious one at that.